National Party Board didn't support Bridges demotion - president

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

The National Party's President on Thursday said it is not the Board's role "to give approval to demote Caucus members" – after the first line of Judith Collins' shock statement on Wednesday night stated it gave "unanimous support" in demoting Simon Bridges.

Simon Bridges and Judith Collins.

It sparked a dramatic day that saw Collins lose her job as leader, after her party was concerned with the content of the statement and the process by which it was issued.

The party's President Peter Goodfellow said the allegation against Simon Bridges, which related to an inappropriate comment said in front of MP Jacqui Dean five-years-ago, was raised with the Board on Wednesday.

The Board were said to have unanimously supported "a first step in seeking further information" from the parties involved, as well as ensuring Bridges was given the opportunity to provide a response "before any conclusions were drawn".

"No specific penalties or actions were discussed, agreed, or endorsed by the Board at its meeting yesterday, beyond our support for an investigation in line with due process.

"It was not and is not a role of the Board to give approval to demote Caucus members or to take similar action."

When asked about the Board's involvement earlier in the day, interim leader Shane Reti said the Board was "engaged several times yesterday".

Collins tweeted shortly after losing her role, saying she is now "just the MP for Papakura again" it was a "privilege to take over the leadership of National Party during the worst times".

"It has taken huge stamina and resolve."

Collins said it was difficult due to a variety of factors.

"I knew when I was confided in by a female colleague regarding her allegation of serious misconduct against a senior colleague, that I would likely lose the leadership by taking the matter so seriously.

"If I hadn’t, then I felt that I wouldn’t deserve the role."

Collins said she did not "ask for the allegation to be given to me".

"I am proud of the support I received from Dr Shane Reti, a man of principle, and I will continue to advocate, not only for Papakura, but for those who have no voice."

She finished by saying she would not miss the gruelling media schedule.